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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 30 March 2017 at 6.30 pm


North Ward:   
Councillor D Bushby
Councillor P S Christie
Councillor P J Pester
Councillor D McGeough

South Ward:   
Councillor D G Brenton
Councillor S G Inch (Chairman)
Councillor R Wootton

South (Outer) Ward:   
Councillor D Howell (Town Mayor)

East Ward:   
Councillor M Langmead

Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
L Lowe and Committee (3 in total)
P Morgan and Committee (4 in total)


All Committee Members were present at the meeting.


Councillor Inch declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 5 (Relative named in the Unique Events proposal).


No Members of the public wished to speak.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 February 2017 were approved and signed as a correct record. 

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0,)


Members received proposals from Unique Events and Lucy Lowe and Committee.  Both groups had previously circulated their event proposal to Members and went through their background and experience, qualifications, make-up of their committees, event overview, fund-raising ideas and income and expenditure.

Members asked detailed questions which included the following:

Lucy Lowe and Committee:

•       Have the schools been approached to provide school choirs? -   Yes some approaches have been made.

•    What is the estimated income?  - We anticipate making a surplus which can be put towards next year.  We are looking to over-fund raise so that we don’t have a shortfall.  We are looking to set up a CIC so that we can attract     grant funding.

•    How far down the line are you in organising events?  We have strong plans in place, but can’t make any firm commitments until we know whether our proposal is chosen. Mrs Lowe emphasised that this will be a community event with     the popular items still in place – reindeer, Santa’s fun run.

•    If there is a shortfall, how will you deal with this?  - The event will still go ahead, but the items which cause the wow factor (Titan and aerial people) will not be booked until sufficient funding is in place. We aim to have     everything organised by September. We have been offered some sponsorship for the roadshow.

•    Is there a back-up plan if it rains?  – The event would need to be cancelled if there was torrential rain.  We are looking at inclement weather insurance.  (Councillor Howell suggested it may be more cost effective to negotiate     cancellation policies with individual acts.)

•    Could the street vendors be asked to keep their prices reasonable? – Yes, the Committee will find out what prices the vendors will be charging before they are accepted for a pitch.

•    How confident are you to get local business sponsorship? – Very confident.  The Committee has already spoken to previous event sponsors.

•    Would the Committee be willing to work with other applicants? – We would prefer to retain the make-up of the current committee.

•    Has the committee thought about an alternative location to release the fireworks if Brunswick Wharf is not available? Yes we have an alternative plan involving releasing the fireworks from a 45 ft barge on the river.

Mrs Lowe and Committee were thanked for their presentation and proposal.

Unique Events:
Phil Morgan advised that Unique Events is a “not for profit company”.  He is the former acting chairman of The Bideford Festival’s Committee, who organise New Year’s Eve.  The Committee are proposing a package of entertainment for the Christmas Light Switch on to evolve the event running order and make a more fluently flowing event. The popular items will remain - the Reindeer and Santa’s fun  run with new ideas being introduced.  The Committee are proposing a Santa’s Grotto as well as a “Make a wish” Christmas tree. The Committee are planning various decoration making workshops, which will all be available to the community free of charge. It is planned that the fireworks will take place shortly after the light switch on with stage entertainment to follow.  A Busking stage is planned for Jubilee Square, as well as entertainment throughout afternoon. Some sponsorship has already been secured, and the Committee feel that they have more than sufficient financial support to deliver the event.

Members asked detailed questions which included the following:

•    Has the Committee thought about an alternative location to release the fireworks if Brunswick Wharf is not available? Yes we have an alternative plan which would involve releasing the fireworks from Chudleigh Fort.  We would     consult with neighbouring properties if this needed to be the case.
•    A market is mentioned as part of the plans.  How commercialised will this be?  The Council is concerned not to have over-priced vendors, making it an expensive day out for families. – The market will not be commercialised.  The     plan is to invite Members of the Pannier Market to come down in to town.
•    Who will be providing the Fireworks? – Steve Barnes.
•    What is a CIC? This is a Community Interest Company which is not for profit. Any profit that is made is invested back into the company to further the aims of the company.  CIC’s are there for the benefit of the community.
•    Who will be performing on the introducing stage?  This will primarily be for buskers and those who want to try their hand at performing live.
•    Is the Committee still committed to New Year’s Eve – Yes.
•    Would the Committee be willing to work with other applicants? – Yes, cohesion within the community is really important.

Mr Morgan and Committee were thanked for their presentation and proposal.

Members discussed the merits of both proposals.

Proposed by Councillor  Brenton, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That Lucy Lowe and Committee is asked to organise the Christmas Light Switch on Event and that the grant of £10,000 is awarded to this Committee.

(Vote – For:  9, Against: 0)


The Town Clerk advised that she had been contacted by Carn Burton who is the location manager for The Film “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  Some of the shooting for the film will take place around the Pannier Market, Honestone Street and Grenville Street areas of town.  Some of the shops have already been contacted with the proposed details and Mr Burton will provide further information for the Pannier Market tenants.  Mr Burton has also been liaising with Devon County Council regarding the traffic flow.

The Town Clerk advised that she had sourced a manual handling refresher course that the Operatives should all attend at Petroc at a cost of £65 per person.


Members received the list of payments.
Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the draft list of payments is approved.

(Vote – For:  9, Against: 0)


•     Kingsley Wall

The Town Clerk advised that Torridge District Council had agreed to contribute £500 towards painting the wall.

•      Mill Street/Allhalland Street Refurbishment

The Town Clerk advised that Councillor Christie had attended a meeting in Torrington with Devon County Council.  Subject to the confirmation of the funding, The Highways Asset Officer has provisionally programmed works to commence between January and March 2018. It is proposed for DCC to produce Contract Documents and advertise the works through an Open Tender Process.  Councillor Christie advised that Devon County Council are offering £50,000 towards the project, and the Town Clerk confirmed that this was in the minutes.  Councillor Christie noted however, that the project is reliant on the success of the Coast and Communities funding, although the project application has passed the first stage.  The Mayor advised that he had written to Councillor John Hart to confirm the availability of County Council funding as The Leader of Torridge District Council had been assured by Councillor Hart that this would be forthcoming.  Unfortunately a non-committal and evasive response was received after a month from Councillor Hart (and only following a prompt.)


Members gave consideration to the TAP funding request document from IntaGR8, but felt that the detail of the event was vague.  They asked the Town Clerk to ascertain from IntaGR8 how many people are expected, what the funding will be spent on, and who will be involved in the organisation of the event? They also requested the event schedule and to know whether it will be open to the general public. Members would like to see letters of support from individuals who will be participating and they would like to know how it compares to the event in Exeter?

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the funding request is deferred until more information about the event is received.

(Vote – For:  9, Against: 0)


Members noted the report.

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That the allowances rate remains unchanged for the Financial Year 2017/2018.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)


Members considered a request from a householder at Rowe Close for tree surgery in Ford Woods.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That permission is granted for the work to be done at the Householder’s own cost, by a suitably qualified tree surgeon.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)


“To purchase a Town Clerk’s Robe to be used on all civic occasions.”

Members considered the Project Information Form circulated prior to the meeting.   Discussion ensued as to where a wig and gown could be sourced, and whether it would be possible to purchase second hand items.  Councillor Howell advised that Town Clerk Robes are made to a specific design and do not become available on the second hand market very often.  He had researched their purchase, and Michaels seemed to be the best value.  Councillor Brenton suggested that if these items were purchased, the job description for the role of the Town Clerk should be altered to reflect the necessity to wear the robe and wig during civic occasions.

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded and 

RECOMMENDED:  That a Town Clerk’s robe and wig are purchased from Michaels at a cost of £1660.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 2)


Members considered the provision of accommodation during the weed spraying course in Budleigh Salterton.
Proposed by Councillor  Bushby, seconded and 

RESOLVED:  That The Town Clerk books the appropriate accommodation.

(Vote For: 8 , Against: 0 Abstention: 1) 


Members received an update on the tasks undertaken by the Maintenance Operatives and Councillor Inch requested that The Town Clerk advises the Operatives that the Committee are very pleased with the excellent work they are doing throughout the town, and what a difference it is making.

There was some discussion regarding grass cutting, and Councillor Inch asked that the Operatives undertake grass cutting over a sustained period, rather than sporadically.  The Town Clerk said she would note this, but also explained that some areas are looking part done, as the contractors who are working for other Councils are also grass cutting certain areas at present, and this is not always in accordance with the maps that we have been given (and asked not to cut their areas).  There was also discussion about the cut that had taken place by the same contractors at Pollyfield, where the area had not been litter picked prior to the cut, causing litter to be strewn everywhere. 
Members asked that the following areas be added to the Maintenance List:

•      Nunnery walk
•      Ivy at bottom of Torridge hill
•      Painting the sewer vents – The Bridge Trust have a cherry picker we may be able to borrow.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That in view of the confidential nature of the business about to be discussed, the meeting moves into part II.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)


Councillor Pester advised that he had seen the closing date for the Citizen’s Awards incorrectly advertised in the local paper (as the 11 April 2017).  It was agreed therefore to defer this item to the next meeting in case any further nominations are received as a result of this incorrect information.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and 

RESOLVED:  That this item is deferred to the next meeting.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 2 )

141   Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED: That The Meeting returns to Standing Orders.

(Vote – For: 9,  Against: 0)

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 8.01 pm.


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